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Iowa’s offense still working

BY CODY GOODWIN | OCTOBER 09, 2014 5:00 AM

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Ray Hamilton smiled and, if only for a brief moment, closed his eyes.

Perhaps this was a manneristic sigh of relief. After answering all sorts of questions about Iowa’s quarterback situation — how the game plan affects the receivers; how the snaps are divided at practice; if Iowa actually can execute a two-quarterback system, etc. — one reporter asked Hamilton a much simpler one.

Are you getting tired of the quarterback questions?

“It is what it is,” said Hamilton, Iowa’s starting tight end.

The quarterback discussion has been ongoing for the better part of two-and-a-half weeks. Last week, while Iowa was idle, offensive coordinator Greg Davis stated both Jake Rudock and C.J. Beathard would play.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz said he has confidence in both Rudock and Beathard but said Rudock would start this Saturday’s Homecoming game against Indiana.

Now in his 16th season at Iowa, Ferentz knows football “is a results-driven activity.” He quickly notedthat both Rudock and Beathard have helped the Hawkeyes to their current 4-1 record (1-0 in Big Ten).

But for all the talk about the quarterbacks, Ferentz knows his offense must improve, regardless of who’s the starter.

“We're not scoring as many points as we like, so that's a work in progress,” he said. “We'll just keep banging away here.”

The struggles go further than just points scored — which, at 22.6 per game, ranks 12th in the Big Ten and ties for 100th in the nation out of 128 teams.

Iowa’s uncharacteristically struggled in the running game, at just 140.2 rushing yards per game (11th in Big Ten, 91st nationally). The passing game isn’t much better at just 232.2 yards per game (seventh in Big Ten, 66th nationally).

The team is very aware of its offensive struggles, which seem to vary from week to week. The run game was nonexistent against Northern Iowa and Ball State, forcing Iowa to throw 96 passes in the two contests. Against Purdue, Hawkeye receivers dropped seven passes, which didn’t allow Beathard to get into a rhythm early on.

“We felt like that was unlike us,” senior receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley said. “We knew once we got back to doing what we do, we knew it was going to be all right.”

Martin-Manley echoed Ferentz’s results-driven mantra. He said Tuesday Iowa would likely take the hot-hand route in deciding the snaps at quarterback during games. Davis confirmed last week Iowa would do just that, saying the coaches will “want to see who is playing better on that particular day.”

Still, Martin-Manley knows the pressure is more on the offense, as a whole, to execute than it is to adjust to either of the quarterback’s tendencies.

“At the end of the day, we receivers have to run our routes. We have to get open and catch the ball,” he said. “The line has to block. Everybody has to do his job. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is. They have to make the right reads and make plays. It really doesn’t matter.

“We have to make plays regardless of who’s in at quarterback, who’s in at running back, who’s in at receiver. At the end of the day, we have to execute and score points to win the game.”

Follow @codygoodwin on Twitter for updates, news, and analysis about the Iowa football team.


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